Symptoms of Tb: Do You Show Any of it?

Tuberculosis remains in the top 5 world’s deadliest diseases.  Almost 2 million people in the whole world die every year because of this disease. That is why it is very important to know the symptoms of tb in order to prevent it from getting worse.

            Tuberculosis or simply TB is a disease that has been affecting many individuals for centuries. It is a contagious chronic infection that is caused by a gram-positive bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually attacks the lungs although it can also attack other body organs. It was called “consumption” many years ago because if left untreated, it will consume the patient from within. A person can get this disease by inhaling infected sputum from the air during a close contact with a person suffering from the disease. He/She can also be infected with the disease by drinking unpasteurized milk. It has two stages which include the latent tuberculosis and the active tuberculosis. Latent or inactive tuberculosis occurs when the infected person can defend the disease with his/her immune system while active tuberculosis happens when the immune system of the person cannot prevent the bacteria from growing. Active tuberculosis usually develops a few weeks after the person is exposed with the bacteria. Fortunately, it can now be easily treated with early symptom diagnosis and antibiotics.  So, what are the symptoms of TB?

            There are many tuberculosis symptoms depending on the stage. People who are suffering from latent tuberculosis do not show any symptoms. They are usually not contagious. However, a person suffering from latent tuberculosis can develop into active tuberculosis if his/her immune system is impaired. When this happens, the person may show symptoms like having a bad cough that lasts for at least three weeks, coughing up thick phlegm that may contain blood, losing appetite, and sweating at night. The cough may start as dry and irritating that will get worse in a few weeks or months. Blood will be coughed up when there is a damaged blood vessel. Night sweats may occur so badly that the person suffering from the disease may have to change bed sheets. Other common symptoms include chest pain which is worsened by severe coughing, weakness or fatigue, fever with a temperature of 38oC, unexplained weight loss, and chills. He/She may also feel unwell most of the time.

If the person suffering from the disease will not be treated, the disease may get worse. Severe active tuberculosis can spread to other parts of the body like kidney, bones, and brain. He/She may experience swelling of lymph nodes and restricted joint movements. A person suffering from severe tuberculosis should see a doctor or be accompanied to the hospital immediately if he/she, experience muscle spasms, find it difficult to breathe or can’t breathe at all, and have severe headache. Choking, wheezing, stiff neck, and becoming unconscious can also be exhibited by a person who suffers from severe active tuberculosis.

These symptoms of TB may also be exhibited when a person has another disease. However, when he/she shows at least three of the symptoms mentioned above, there is a great possibility that she has tuberculosis and should see a doctor immediately.

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